Friday, October 28, 2011

President Lincoln Mourns His Friend's Death

Mr. Lincoln received the news this week that his long time friend from Illinois, Colonel Edward D. Baker, was killed in the battle at Balls Bluff in Virginia. Ironically, Colonel Baker had spent the previous day with Mr. Linoln at the White House. Mary and Abraham Lincoln had so much love and respect for their long time friend, that they had named their second child, Edward Baker Lincoln (known as Willie) after their friend. On hearing the news Mr. Lincoln wept openly.

An official study of the battle originally called out General Charles Stone for sending in Baker's forces to be slaughtered as a preconcerted ploy arranged by the rebels.  General Stone was arrested and incarcerated.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lincoln's Cabinet Takes a Tour

President Lincoln and his cabinet met on October 19, 1861. Then they went to the Naval Yard going then to Alexandria, Virginia where they toured the steamer Pensacola. They sailed on the Potomac River to inspect Fort Washington.

I visited Springfield, meeting with my father-in-law Judge Stephen Logan. I took his advice seriously that I needed to convince my wife Sally to join me in Washington City. Sally had been convinced that I would become President Lincoln's cousel to Paris, and was quite upset that instead I became U.S. Federal Marshal of the District of Columbia. Sally agreed that she would soon joined me in Washington City. She asked me to find a house for us. I was pleased that she would soon be joing me.

Upon my return to the White House, I met with Mr. Lincoln. He was pleased that Sally and I had worked out the disagreement, and that she would be joining me. He said that I was spending way too much time on my job, and that being with my wife would be good for my disposition.

Meanwhile, two neighbors from Mill Creek, Virginia, Belle Boyd and Molly Pultz, ened up the Old Capitol jail.  They were both charged with spying, as they were caught passing information to the rebels. 

Belle Boyd was a real problem. She sang rebel songs and had a poster of Jefferson Davis in her ceell. She was even caught flying the rebel flag out her prison window.  I talked to her several times, but with those encounters, I felt like I was on the losing end of the conversation both times.

As for Molly Pultz, whose parents owned the land butting up against the Lamon land in Mill Creek, I urged President Lincoln to release her to me, which he did. I vouched for her character. I really didn't think she would be back again. I sent her home with a mutual friend and a promise that I would nto see her again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The President Reviews General McClellan's Troops

President Lincoln rode about three miles from the Capitol on October 8 to review the Union troops being trained by General George McClellan. This was not a unique experience.  Mr. Lincoln had reviewed local regiments two dozen different times up to this point.  He knew it was important to the troops morale that they see their commander-in-chief take a personal interest in their units.

The men, on the other hand, seemed to admire so much their president to the point that they didn't notice his awkwardness riding on his horse. And he certainly made riding any horse look uncomfortable and perhaps even funny. Horace Porter said the troops "were so lost in admiration of the man that the humorous aspect did not seem to strike them."

Mr. Lincoln loved all the cheers and salutes he got from his army. He was their friend. He wanted them to succeed as a whole, but he also was empathetic to the possibilities that they might be injured or killed defending the Union.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Father-in-Law Requested a Visit to Springfield, Illinois

Judge Stephen Logan, my father-in-law, wrote at the end of September requesting that I visit him in Springfield, Illinois. I agreed, believing it was in my best interest to visit him and my wife Sally, who had not accompanied my to Washington City. I told him I thought I would visit in October.

I met with Mr. Lincoln followiing my completion of raising the Virginia Regiment, the Lamon Brigade. I asked him "by no means let my brigade be broken up -- or having its name changed. It will bring great dissatisfaction among my men. They are attached to me and I am to them." I also told the president that I personally thought that turning loose the slaves of the enemy was "the strongest card we could play."

My mother was quite upset that of her four boys, three had originally joined the Confederates and that I had joined the Union. I reminded her that she had always taught us to support the government. I am sure she meant that we should support the union, not the rebels.  My brother Robert, who had been arrested early in the war, was released to my custody and is now a deputy helping me perform my official duties.  Now in my mother's world, she had two boys on each side.